June 27, 2022

Shoppers hard-pressed to buy time

House eaves and split-rail fences are draped in icicle lights by the thousands, while in storefronts, wire reindeer move their heads up and down as if keeping time to the rhythm of the Salvation Army bells nearby.

It’s the height – the high noon – of the holiday season, and we can’t help but be conscious of time and how it is running out. Messages batter us: “mail early,” “shop tonight,” “order now,” “countdown begins,” “17 days left,” “make your reservations.”

To keep track of the fleeting time, we need clocks and watches everywhere, time pieces to alert us to the seconds, minutes and hours ticking off our days, never to return.

That’s why more watches are sold for Christmas gifts than any other single item. The authority on this is none other than the March Hare – who was recognized by his own well-used pocket watch … and his propensity for running late.

For you December hares who haven’t yet selected a watch, let me say that you probably don’t have time. You couldn’t even make a selection in time. There are more glassed-in counters holding watches than grocery shelves stocking cereal boxes. Styles vary as much as prices, and trademarks bear names often hard to pronounce.

Take Patek Philippe, for instance. And what does it mean, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation?” Of course, you own it; it’s not like it’s protected by conservation easements.

Then, there’s the David Yurman “Thoroughbred Watch Collection,” which, we assume, is only for well-bred equestrians who have time on their hands. These are shown in 18 Karat gold, or steel and sterling silver and are “American designed and Swiss handcrafted.” A good combination in watches as well as cheese.

All of the Bulovas, Citizens and Seikos are on sale at an area department store with the caveat – some advertising disclaimer – that the promotion “excludes exceptional values.” That rather defeats the purpose of a sale, since most shoppers happen to be seeking just that.

For those gift buyers who hope to “push the artform,” (a newly coined word) there are Movado watches that “are exhibited in the permanent collections of museums worldwide.” You probably shouldn’t expect one of these under the Christmas tree unless you are accustomed to receiving museum objects.

Time watchers surely know the name Hermes, Paris, which is advertising its “Espace” watch with a price – in keeping with the name – that is, no doubt, out of this world.

From Timex to Rolex, from solar to sport, from digital to diamond, watches are timely gifts.

Too bad they can’t add more time to tell.

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